Chesterfield’s Ben Barnicoat secured the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup crown one race early when fog – caused the cancellation of the season finale at the Nurburgring circuit, in Germany.
Coming into the three-race finale 12 points clear, Barnicoat was out-qualified by chief title rival Louis Deletraz in each of the qualifying sessions, starting from 5th, 5th and 15th on the grid for rounds 14, 15 and 16.
Securing a couple of fourth-place finishes in rounds 14 and 15 increased his title advantage to 16 points over Deletraz, who enjoyed the advantage of a superior grid position for the Sunday morning showdown, as Barnicoat went off in qualifying with only a single hot lap, lining 15th.
Due to the conditions and the raceday’s tight schedule preventing the race being run later in the day, Barnicoat was declared champion, the first to lift the title in his single-seater’s maiden year.
The 17-year-old rookie stepped up from karts to cars last November clinching the BARC Formula Renault 2.0 UK series Autumn Cup, before moving into the Northern European Cup this spring.
Having topped the NEC standings since the Spa round at the end of July, Barnicoat claimed two wins and a total of five podium finishes over the course of the 15-race season.
“To be champion in my rookie season feels pretty good. I didn’t expect it – I wanted a top-3 finish but to win it is even better!” commented Barnicoat.
Looking back on his season the McLaren F1 team protégé remarked, “apart from the odd mistake by me and mechanical failures - we just got stronger and stronger”.